Customer Reviews: Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes
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VINE VOICEon February 27, 2005
I have been a big fan of the show since the beginning. This book is a blessing. For a long time I would have to hunt down the recopies on the food network website, print them, lose half of them, etc. This way I have it all in a beautiful glossy hard cover book, written with warmth, personal stories and mouth watering pictures of the dishes.

I have made many of the dishes she features in her book, and not one turned out badly. It all comes out exactly as it's supposed to. That's tricky with some cookbooks, when you just can't get it to be what it's meant to be. Giada's book is divided in these sections:

Antipasti, Sauces, Pasta Polenta and Risotto, Entrees, Contorini (Side Dishes) and Dolci (Desserts)

Some of my favorite recipes I've made are:

Stuffed mushrooms: thank goodness they are so simple to make, because I am being hounded by my boyfriend to make them. Simply amazing.

Simple Bolognese- meaty, fresh, and satisfying, plus you don't have to wonder what was in it. You made it and you know it's clean. Classic recipe that's easy to follow.

Brown Butter sauce - I can still close my eyes and taste the sage and butter, over any meat. Instant dress up to any meal.

Chicken piccata - light, lemony, olivey, simply fantastic.

I can just go on and on, but I don't want to bore anyone. This book is simply super. I don't mind the pictures of her, and if she changed her clothes for every single photo in the book, I would have mistaken it for a Vogue shoot, instead of a cookbook.

Hope you can enjoy it as much as I am. This book is in constant use at my house.
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on April 8, 2006
To put this review into perspective for you, it is written by a serious student of cooking that has been actively studying food on their own for 25 years. I have been focusing on Italian food for the last 10 years. My favorite cookbook is "The Professional Chef" by the Culinary Institute of America.

Giada is such an engaging personality on the Food Network that she is hard not to watch if you love Italian food. I bought this book and wanted to love it.

However, the recipes are not written for someone that knows Italian cooking. Her book is marketed to the crowd that wants to cook Italian American not authentic Italian. Giada avoids Italian ingredients that are only readily available in the major metropolitan areas. Her recipes are extremely simple, with few ingredients and take no time to prepare. Given her target audience for the book I feel the book is good. With Giada's cooking education and family background I expected the book to go into more depth than her television show, it does not. If you are looking for a book that is a compendium of her show, you will love this book.

However, if you are serious about Italian food buy "Molto Italiano" by Mario Batali instead. He isn't as stunning to look at, but his recipes are vastly superior. You might also consider "The Silver Spoon" it contains a vast number of Italian recipes but is lacking glossy photos that are present in Mario's book. You should also consider "Harry's Bar Cookbook" written by the owner of Harry's Bar in Venice. It is a fantastic authentic Italian Cookbook.
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on November 29, 2006
Giada De Laurentiis' first cookbook was exactly what I expected from watching her show. True it does not greatly differ from her TV show, but I did not expect it to, they share the same name for a good reason. Just like her wonderfull show, the recipes are pretty classic Italian but recipes you can make from your own pantry or your local store. No hunting down speciality ingrediants. I personally liked the section on what you need in your pantry to make the majority of the dishes included.

I am one of those people who reads a cookbook cover to cover and I enjoyed Mario Battali's intro about Giada very much. Especially the part about how she is the kind of girl his mother told him to marry. The book also describes how Giada ended up with her own show.

The recipes center around those found on her show, with some I do not recall from the show. If you are already familure with her food network show then you know that Giada focuses on achievable Italian cooking, you do not need a degree from culinary school or a week to make her food. There are more traditional Italian cookbooks out there, but if like me, you are unlikley to make a marinera sauce that requires a minimum of three days, this cookbook is more your style.

The book also tells you how and how long many of the dishes can be stored. Something I really appreciate. And being that it is Giada, there is a good dessert section. A nice touch is that there are some simple, light fruit desserts along with the more decadent fare. Also there are intros to the recipes with facts or explinations on variations.

Some people have said there are not enough recipes included. While I too would love some more of Giada's recipes (especially the esspresso frothy dessert/breakfast from one of her shows); I don't understand the complaint when the number of recipes is stated in the title. Personally I had no problems reading the text. Although I would have liked more pictures of the food (one of my favorite things about expensive gourmet cookbooks is that there is a photo of every dish), it is not devoid of food pictures. I don't think the number of shots of Giada ditracts from the book, the publisher just like the show's producers are just capitalizing on what a beautifull engageing woman Giada De Laurentiis is. How many other tv chefs get writen about in magazines like Maxim?

All in all I gave the book five stars because I felt it delivered on what I expected, plus some fun surprises.
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on December 31, 2005
While I enjoy the cooking Giada does, I'd have enjoyed the cookbook more if a good portion of the 50 plus snapshots of her would have been dedicated to the prepared recipes. One or two of the author, perhaps front and back covers holding a dish! with more of the food photos in the book,would have been a plus. In future books save the personal snapshots for friends and family and give the purchaser recipes and prepared food snapshots.
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on March 27, 2005
I get such a kick out of some of the reviews on here being rather snobbish about this book with comments like, "not for the seasoned cook". Come on shouldn't take a "seasoned cook" nor a rocket scientist to figure out that this book is exactly what it says it is......"Everyday Italian". It's not titled, "Expert Italian Cooks Only"!!

I admit, I didn't pay one cent for this book because my daughter bought it for me as a birthday gift. It was unexpected and I honestly hadn't given it a thought to buy it on my own beforehand, only because I already have so many other cookbooks. However, now that I have it, I'm thrilled and am so glad my daughter had the foresight to get me something purely because she knew I enjoy Giada and her show.

Also, unexpectedly something else happened - because of all those photos of Giada so many people seem to be griping about being too abundant, my husband and my 22 year old sons are now fans of her show. Do I mind? Heck no, at least now they aren't complaining that the only TV I watch is FoodNetwork. They realize now exactly what or who they've been missing out on! Plus, they've even learned a few cooking tips/hints through osmosis even if they have their own alterior motives for watching.

I'm very pleased with the book because I actually can hear Giada's voice in my mind as if I were watching her show myself. The recipes are simple and easily explained enough to be called "everyday Italian" recipes. I love the idea of Italian-American fusion as well because after all, that's who Giada herself really is - an Italian-American! I wouldn't want a book that boasts "everyday Italian" with ingredients I can only get in Italy! I want things I can buy at my local grocery store so I can enjoy them every day, not just on special occasions. If I wanted something that authentic Italian, I'd rather take a trip to Italy!

Also, who cares if you can download some of the recipes from the FoodNetwork website - that's a pain in the ravioli to have to use up all the ink in my printer and it's far less time consuming, nor is it as interesting as having the book to look through. Maybe if I come across recipes I want that aren't in the book, then I might consider downloading them from the website. When it comes to the organization and layout of the book itself - hey, as long as the index in the back of the book helps me find things alphabetically that's good enough for me. Actually, that's basically all I need with any cookbook.

Although I realize everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I personally think some reviews are being too critical as if they are critiquing something much more complex than the simplistic and fun book "Everyday Italian" really is.
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on December 7, 2005
Ok, for starters, if you like the Everyday Italian show, you will probably also like this book. Basically it gives you a breakdown of popular dishes that she makes on the show. I was a little disappointed that she didn't put in some of my fav dishes but hey, this book gives us what is popular across the board.

Yes, there are a lot of photos of her. If you watch the show, you will notice the same thing. The charm is more in her presentation than in the difficulty of preparation. Her ability to make easy dishes look appealing is why she is as popular as she is. This is not for professional or authentic Italian chefs. Get over it people.

Also, you get what you should expect from a book about everyday cooking. If you are a novice and unfamiliar with anything Italian, then you will find this informative. You can tell that her dishes are definitly simplified and also Americanized. (You can tell even on her show; just watch the one where she invites her aunt to cook and Giada gets criticized for adding butter to a pasta dish.)

I have never doubted her ability or knowledge as a chef. What she takes out or leaves in is not a matter of breaking cannon but a personal preference. In most cases, she will explain why she prefers an ingredient over another.

This book is a good introduction and not an end all and be all of Italian cookbooks. I find that it makes Italian food more accessible to the general public that may not know more about Italian cooking than a bottle of Ragu and a trip to Olive Garden. At its best, it is a gateway to other Italian cookbooks such as the much revered Silver Spoon.

You definitely should not buy this expecting to become a master in Italian cooking. It only opens up the possibility of something different and gives you the basic knowledge to learn more.
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on November 9, 2006
I have found the recipes in this book to be very useful. They are easy to prepare with a minimum amount of specialized ingredients. She brings many new ideas to those of us who have been preparing Italian meals for years.

Especially delicious is the polenta and the rib-eye steak with roasted peppers and arugula.
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on January 17, 2006
Before receiving Everday Italian as a Chistmas gift,I hated to cook. From grocery shopping to reading recipes, I despised it all.

Now I've finally found a cookbook that makes me want to cook! Giada's recipes are easy to follow and for the most part, quick to make. Best of all, most of her ingredients can be found at your local grocery store for a reasonable price.

At first I was irritated by the lack of finished recipe pictures in the cookbook. Once I started cooking, I realized I didn't even need them - the recipes are that simple. I'm not a gourmet chef so I don't want complicated recipes, even if they do taste a bit more robust or authentic. I'm just somebody trying to find the inspiration to enjoy cooking and eating again.

I've enjoyed almost every recipe I've made from this cookbook and I look forward to cooking at the end of a long work day. My favorite recipes have been the marinara sauce (I can't believe I made my own sauce), the bolognese sauce, the chicken piccata, and the chicken parm. Tonight I'm going to make ziti with asparagus, smoked mozzarella, and prosciutto.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks they don't have the time or the finances to make fresh, great tasting Italian food. If the thought of one more night of grocery store, jarred tomato sauce makes you want to scream, this book is for you!
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on March 17, 2007
If you're a novice cook looking for an uncomplicated Italian cookbook or if you're looking for straight-foward meals with an Italian flare, the recipes here will meet your needs and expectations. Most of the ingredients are readily available at your neighborhood grocery; the language is direct with easy to follow instructions and explanations; and De Laurentiis is honest in presenting the fact that a number of the recipes in the book are "not for dieters." The book really does contain simple and very good to delicious recipes.

The book's downfall (and the reason for my 3-star rating) is in the design and layout. Though the book is printed in a sans serif font with decent use of white space, as another reviewer indicated, some of the recipes are printed in reverse or in very light colors, such as white on light green or light green on white, making them difficult to read and making it hard to keep your place while cooking. For anyone with low vision, the recipes on these particular pages will be totally inaccessible. Fortunately, a majority of the book contains somewhat better contrast, though still it is gray on white, not black and white.

The glossy cookbook does not lack for photos--unfortunately, very few are of food and even fewer are of the dishes themselves. That would be the food dishes, not the dishy cook. Of De Laurentiis, photos are plentiful. Some photos are your typical, glamorous, "My dentist loves me" vogue shots but much of the photography has an odd, voyeuristic quality that one would not anticipate in a cookbook. The style makes the book feel a little obsessive and frankly a little creepy. De Laurentiis' B-movie, 'What's that noise behind me?' pose on page 237 made me wonder if that's what Nancy Drew looks like in the kitchen.

Recipes, thumbs up. Book design and photography, thumbs down.
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on March 4, 2005
I love this chef. I watch her program all the time and I pre-ordered the book from Amazon. I was very disappointed in some aspects of the book, although I love the recipes and have tried many. The color of the ink on some pages, coupled with the shiny paper, make it very difficult to read in certain light. There does not seem to be enough contrast, especially for the older reader. Also, there are way too many pictures of the author and not nearly enough pictures of the food. I realize she has a hollywood connection and is very beautiful, but most cooks are interested in how the food should look when the recipe is completed, not Giada holding utensils, etc. I would have liked to see more pictures of the finished product.

Again, I love the recipes.
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